The famous California search engine and innovation company, Google, admitted in a statement earlier this month that the self-driving cars that it has invented have been involved in 11 minor car accidents since the company began working with the technology six years ago.
The company stated it had notified the state of California that the self-driving cars were involved in three accidents since September, when the reporting of such accidents became a legal requirement in exchange for the permits necessary to test the vehicles on public roads within the state. Official state reports allegedly have the total at four incidents.
Interestingly, according to reports, the self-driving cars have not been the causes of the accidents. Instead, the accidents purportedly occurred at a time when there was a person behind the wheel driving. In other words, it wasn’t the car driving itself that was to blame for having caused the accidents. According to an anonymous source, all of the collisions occurred while the car was traveling at or below a speed of 10 mph.
One of the concerns of such technology, aside from the potential for being involved in collisions, is the potential difficulty for assuming control of vehicles if they lose control. The companies are believed to be attempting to create cars that do not have pedals or steering wheels, which would make the ability to take control over them in the event of an emergency potentially impossible.
Apparently, there are an additional five companies currently testing similar self-driving car technology. Those companies have not reported any accidents to news outlets. In sum, there are 48 cars currently granted permission to conduct self-driving modules on California state roads.
The Google cars, which have traveled close to two million miles so far, work by implementing technology that involves cameras, radar, and laser sensors to provide an in-depth understanding of their surroundings. So far, however, the focus on these types of cars has been to prevent them from becoming involved in or causing serious accidents.
Although these cars may not have drivers, whoever owns the cars is responsible for any accidents, damage, or injuries that are caused as a result of the cars becoming involved in a collision. It seems a bit odd to consider, but the underlying law in these types of car accident cases is no different than if the cars were being driven by an actual human and not a computer program.
However, that said, another interesting argument is that Google and other companies could potentially be held liable as manufacturers of the cars, depending on the nature of their involvement in designing the machines. Of course, there are separate legal standards for the various kinds of claims that could be brought following any sort of collision that led to damages.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to understand your rights so that you can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Sharifi Firm, PLC have significant experience in handling car accident cases throughout California. If you have been involved in a car accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We can be reached through this website, or by calling (866) 422-7222.
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